Acme for sale?

UPDATE: "There's little reason to believe deals are imminent," says Jonathan Feeney, analyst at Janney Capital Markets, looking at the prospects for SuperValu's dismemberment, in a report to clients today. Of SuperValu's major brands, "Shaw’s appears to be struggling, as does Albertson’s... and Acme, as we saw on our store tours with management in February. That leaves Jewel, SVU’s leading banner in the largest geography," with unknown prospects.

EARLIER: SuperValu, the Minnesota-based grocery chain that owns Malvern-based Acme Markets, until recently the dominant Philadelphia-area supermarket chain, has hired Goldman Sachs and Greenhill to conduct a "strategic review" of "alternatives" for its operations and has suspended its dividend, the company says here. Inquirer note here.

The company, which also operates Albertson's, Save-A-Lot and other chains, has been shutting stores, laying off workers and weighing further cost cuts as it tries to cope with competition from Wal-Mart and European-owned chains. "Strategic" changes can include selling or shutting subsidiary store chains.

SuperValu shares fell 30% in response, reports Bloomberg here. "The end may be near" for SuperValu and Acme, writes DAVID Goodman of Conshohocken-based Equity Retail Brokers, here.